Our Mission

Our Mission, our Goal…

The Pro Civium Citizens’ Initiative Association operates in the field of public safety, based on the Regulation of the Prime Minister of December 28, 2016, on the cooperation of entities in the execution of penalties, punitive, compensatory, protective, preventive and forfeiture measures, as well as social control over their execution (Journal of Laws of 2016, item 2305) engaging in various forms of preventing the phenomenon of returning to recidivist status of persons deprived of their liberty.

We are of the opinion that through a series of post-penitentiary activities undertaken comprehensively towards perpetrators of crimes, we can ensure safe development and existence for all of us, our loved ones1„[…] The social readaptation of convicted persons is of a significant social importance, as a long-term stay in a prison may cause, among others: the process of adapting to life in isolation, loss of the former place of residence, breakdown of family ties and loss of professional and social skills that can only be realised in an open environment. Effective influences on convicted contribute to preventing these persons from falling foul of the law again, and thus have a direct impact on increasing the level of social security […] „- A Report of the Supreme Audit Office of October 27, 2015, in the matter of the ” Social Readaptation of Convicted … ” , KPB-4101-006-00 / 2014..

The activities of the Prison Service are, by law, limited to the boundaries set by the prison walls. Probation officers supervise only the group of perpetrators who have availed themselves of the benefit of conditional early release, and it is becoming more and more restricted year by year. This means that the State loses any real control over an increasing number of convicts leaving penal institutions after having served their full prison sentence.

The Office of the Ombudsman, the Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Audit Office have repeatedly, in their statements, raised the importance of non-governmental organizations that support state and local government institutions in the social readaptation of prisoners with their activities. The quality and effectiveness of our activities have also been appreciated by, among others, the Ombudsman and the Directors of the Regional Inspectorates of the Prison Service in Poznan and Szczecin. Repeatedly, in official correspondence with these entities, we received words of support and approval for our activity, which is described as „invaluable”. In July 2019, the Ombudsman, Dr. Adam Bodnar, expressed his appreciation and gratitude for the initiatives taken by the Association encouraging us to cooperation in informing the Office of the Ombundsman about problems indicating the possibility of violating civil rights and liberties, or Prof. Wiesław Ambrozik, the chairperson of the Resocialisation Pedagogy Section of the Committee for Pedagogical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Our stance

The Pro Civium Citizens’ Initiative Association systematically and comprehensively supports the government sector in resocialisation activities on many levels of post-penitentiary actions based on the participation of families of perpetrators of crimes2“[…] Along with other penitentiary influence measures, contacts with the family are invaluable in the social readaptation process and are one of the basic means of influencing convicts […]” – Maj. Arleta Pęconek from the Office of the Director General of the Prison Service; July 24, 2019, in: Holistic News..

The organization takes the stance that if we help deprived of their liberty to find employment, to systematize the material and living sphere, to provide legal, professional and psychological support in dealing with current affairs after the end of the sentence, there is, indeed, a high probability that socially rehabilitated persons will live next to us. By making it easier for the convict to continue to function properly in the place of employment, in the local community and, above all, in the family, we prevent individuals who are a permanent threat to us, our families and our property from returning to society. This resocialisation model works well in the post-penitentiary system of Norway or the Netherlands, where prisons are currently being closed due to the lack of perpetrators of crimes3“[…] More than 50 percent of those imposed on a suspended prison sentence return to crime as soon as the first year after the sentence becomes final, and more than 25 percent – commit another prohibited act within five years from the first sentence – according to statistics of the Ministry of Justice [ …] „- in: the Republic of Poland from November 20, 2018 – „A Disturbing Report of the Ministry of Justice on the Resocialisation of Prisoners”..

Our activities

On this account the Association has created the „Intervention and Support for the Legitimate Social Readaptation of Convicted” programme exactly addressed to this specific social group and their loved ones. To families, which we consider to be the most important element of an efficient and effective post-penitentiary system. An educated cohabitee, parent or any other loved one of the person with a criminal record is intended to be the first safety buffer against repeating an undesirable behaviour by a convict.

Therefore, the association has taken a twin-track approach:

  1. For persons deprived of their liberty:
  • we print a free magazine „PostPenit”, which in an accessible and modern formula re-educates, sensitizes to socially important issues, teaches the right attitudes,
  • we launched a toll-free „TeleSupport” hotline enabling convicts to contact a lawyer, psychologist, educator or career counsellor,
  • we offer a free „Talk to Your Loved Ones” service, which allows the poorest prisoners to maintain ties with their family, especially children,
  • we implement the project „Find an Employment with the Website”, thanks to which persons who are to leave prison soon can find a legal job,
  • we organise nationwide competitions for convicts and their families aimed at sensitising them to all forms and manifestations of harm done to other persons.
  1. For families of persons deprived of their liberty:

We have created a network of interactions aimed at preparing the loved ones of the convicted for the end of the prison sentence and their return home4„[…] One of the most important problems of the Polish penitentiary science has for years been the phenomenon of the so-called recidivism, that is return to crime […]. Social readaptation pedagogy has known this problem for years and tries to justify the thesis that parallel resocialisation work with the convict and his family environment gives the best effects […] „- Prof. Marek Konopczyński, PhD, in the editorial review of Sonia Dzierzyńska-Breś’s „The Social Situation of Families of Persons Deprived of Their Liberty „, in: Academic Publishing House AMU, Poznan 2016., which is served, among others, by:

  • the „TeleSupport” hotline (0800 201 211) and the website for Families of Deprived of Their Liberty and Convicted Persons with an online chat, giving the opportunity to obtain direct support from a lawyer, psychologist, sexologist, educator or career counsellor,
  • organization of stationary educational workshops for adult family members of convicted,
  • launching the „TeleCounselling” and „EduMailing” services, during which the loved ones of the prisoner, thanks to contact with experienced psychologists, career counsellors and professional literature, acquire the skills such as implementation of the so-called family supervision over persons with criminal records and recognition of symptoms indicating a high probability of their recidivism,
  • launching the „TeleInfo Pro Civium” editorial office creating training and educational news of a resocialisation nature for the families of prisoners, especially for blind (visually impaired) persons,
  • publishing the quarterly „Ways to Go”, discussing penitentiary and post-penitentiary matters in the context of supporting the families of persons deprived of their liberty in activities socialising perpetrators of crimes.

All the indicated tools have one common denominator, that is post-isolation, family and social supervision over the convict and his further readaptation, with the active participation of loved ones and non-governmental organizations.

All assistance and support provided to the deprived of their liberty and their families is realised in the Vice Versa system5https://pomocpostpenitencjarna.pl/system-vice-versa/, that is we help a convict free of charge (who meets the criteria set out in the Regulations of the „Intervention and Support for the Legitimate Social Readaptation of Convicted” programme)6https://pomocpostpenitencjaarna.pl/program/ – and their loved ones, somewhat in return, carry out the entrusted tasks that allow them to acquire the indicated skills socialising the perpetrator7„[…] The Prison Service assumes that the resocialisation process will not be effective if it does not take into account those persons with whom the prisoner will live after release from prison and who will support them in fulfilling social roles in compliance with socially acceptable values, patterns and norms of behaviour. Therefore, the contact of convicts with their families is important […]”- in: the Republic of Poland of May 24, 2015 – „Resocialisation and family relations of convicts”..

However, in order to be effective, post-penitentiary activities or draft proposals for changes in the law implemented by the Association must be comprehensive and cover the whole area related to the above-mentioned areas. Therefore, the organization decided to cooperate with academic centres educating the future team of lawyers, psychologists and resocialisation educators. As part of our activities and the implementation of a joint project with the PZU Foundation („Knowledge – Education – Resocialisation”), students can serve internships from this year.

The scope of our activities

The association operates non-profit, it does not conduct any gainful activity. It depends mainly on donations and membership fees.

In 2019, we supported 1094 persons in total under the „Intervention and Support …” test programme by, among other things, finding a job to 42 persons and providing legal advice to 385 prisoners in penitentiary units, 74 persons after serving their sentences and 65 family members of convicts. We significantly expanded the tools of influence, at the same time substantially increasing the offer of support for the Association’s beneficiaries in 2020. More at – https://pomocpostpenitencjaarna.pl/raport-za-2020-rok/.

The website belonging to the organization (pomocpostpenitencjaarna.pl) registers an average of 10,000 page views per month. One post published on the association’s Facebook profile reaches an average of 3.5 thousand recipients8Statistical data from the www.facebook.com portal for the period: April 7 – April 13, 2020.. The organization also uses other popular social media: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram or Google Firma.

In its activities, „Pro Civium” can count on the substantive support of the Department of Resocialisation of the Faculty of Educational Studies at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. We jointly implement various reintegration projects and partnerships with brands such as Telegrosik and the Zpozdrowieniem.pl website, that is, companies, which in their daily activities serve socially excluded persons – prisoners and their families.

As part of the implementation of the „Knowledge – Education – Resocialisation” project, jointly with the PZU Foundation, in the times of the pandemic, over 120 students from more than 20 academic centres in the country completed online internships.

By December 2020, over 40 members and almost 100 volunteers were active within the organization.

History and future

Our organization has been operating since 2018 and is gradually developing. Thanks to the commitment of our volunteers – specialists in their fields – we take up new initiatives expanding the area and the scope of our activities. This year, we plan to launch a seat in the second city, as well as to start building the organization’s watchdog capacity and increase the reach and role of the Association’s media.

Prepared by: Public Relations Team

Poznan; January 5, 2021

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